Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guest Posting Today at Lemon Tree Creations

Hi Guys!  I'm guest posting today at Lemon Tree Creations.  You can see my guest post right here.  Thanks so much to the girls at LTC for having me today!

The project I'm sharing has to do with this little guy...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm still here...

Hello to my wonderful bloggity friends!  I just wanted to pop in and let you know that I am still here - just busy, busy, busy!  We've begun packing up our apartment and saying farewell to our wonderful Chicago friends.  I promise I'll be back soon with lots of stories, thoughts, feelings, prayer requests, projects...the whole she-bang.  Thanks for sticking it out with me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's real and it's creepin' up on me....

It's so real that I can actually blog about it now.  We're moving to Louisville in about 3 weeks.  Not only are we moving to Louisville in 3 weeks, but I haven't even started packing.  Like, I'm not joking.  This move has been a long time coming and it's also been a huge testament to God's timing and sovereignty.  If you're looking for a good story to divert your attention from whatever you need to get done, have I got the story for you!

Some of you may recall that I moved to Chicago from Lexington, KY a little less than 2 years ago when Stephen and I got married.  We felt strongly that Chicago was where we were supposed to be at that time.  In doing that, my life completely changed and I would be lying if I told you it wasn't hard.  But, I clung to the fact that I had, indeed felt as though Chicago was where I was supposed to be and that it wasn't going to be forever (I didn't know how long it would be, I just knew Stephen wasn't diggity-down with forever).

I started grad school in January, 2010 and by March I was started to get more connected in my new world around me.  In May of 2010 I had the privilege of accompanying my old school and my sweet friend, Anessa to Washington, D.C. for their class trip.  While I was gone, Stephen got the news that his current job was moving to Salt Lake City, Utah.  They didn't know when the actual move would take place, but they were estimating that it would be in 6-9 months.  His alternatives to moving to Salt Lake were: move to Jersey City, wait out the move knowing that if the job ends severance will be awarded or simply to find a new job.  Talk about heavy stuff that Stephen had to tell me, his wife who had just left her old life to move a mere 6 months prior and had just finished her first semester (out of 5) of grad school.  Ay yi yi.

I returned home from Washington, D.C. and Stephen broke the news to me.  "Say what?" I believe was my response.  After a lot of prayer and a long time of being unsure of what we were going to do, we decided to stake it out.  We would stay in Chicago until Stephen's job ended OR until I finished grad school and then we'd do what we knew we'd do all along (we just didn't think it'd be so soon) and move back to Kentucky.  If Stephen's job ended before I finished grad school then we would figure out how I could finish - we were creative, let me tell you.  So, for the past year and 2 months, Stephen and I have been praying that his job would hold out until late spring.  We had figured it out that if we could make it to late spring, severance would cover our booties to the end.  As soon as we made this decision, we immediately gave it to God and because He is so mighty, He literally took our fears and uncertainties away.  I can honestly tell you that I have not lost sleep over this and if I've thought about it, it was never more than for a couple of minutes.  I tell you that, not to act as though I'm so full of faith and whoa is me, but because I firmly believe that God took that anxiety out of our life - it was all Him and to Him be the glory.

January, 2011 came and we prayed feverishly that the job would last a couple more months (at the very least).  April came and went with no sign of the job moving.  Heck, it's the middle of July and the job is still going strong.  However, we know that it's time to go.  Stephen broke the news to them this past Thursday, making it official.

Things that make us feel at peace with moving to Kentucky:
1. Even though Stephen's job hasn't ended, it is going to end, it's just a matter of when.  Stephen could get another job in Chicago, but ultimately we know KY is where we want to be.  He doesn't want to get another job and have it for 1-3 years and jump ship - Stephen's one dedicated little cookie.

2. In 1.5 weeks I will be completely finished with my grad school program - PRAISE THE LORD!

3. I am SOOOOO ready to be back in the classroom and I just don't feel called to try and find a job in Chicago Public Schools.  The politics and craziness that is CPS is something that I don't want to mess around with - just the idea makes me tired.  I highly respect teachers here for what they go through for a job that they love, but I don't feel as though I've been called to do the same.

4. Both of our families live in Louisville.  I have 2 older sisters who are both married and they both reside in Louisville.  Stephen has a brother and a sister that are married and they, too live in Louisville.  My oldest sister just had a sweet little baby (you know!), Stephen's sister is expecting their first baby, and then Stephen's brother and his wife have 2 cute kids - not to mention both of our parents.  We want to live by our family!

5. Stephen has a job lined up for him in Louisville where he will be working in personal finance - he couldn't be more excited to work with and help individuals with their money.

6. Just to get it out there - Salt Lake City wasn't for us.  It's a beautiful city that I love to visit, although it's just too far from home.  We both feel as though if you can't drive the distance to home in a day, we're probably not going to want to live there.  Also, Jersey City is an entirely different lifestyle that neither one of us really wanted to change to.  Great people do great things in Salt Lake and Jersey, we just knew it wasn't for us.

Okay, this is super long so I'm going to wrap it up.  I gave you the facts: In 3 weeks I need to finish up grad school, pack up our apartment and head to Louisville.  Tomorrow (yes, I will need to blog about this repeatedly) I'll be back to blog a bit on how I'm feeling about the whole thing.  Until then, I have to keep on doing what I'm doing even if I am leaving :)  Finish strong!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Magnificent Mondays: Magnificent Blogs 66

Have you guys ever had the privilege of finding yourself over at Taylor Made?  Talk about great projects, great tutorials and a great blog over all!  You'll definitely need to head on over to Taylor's place and see what she can have you muster up!

For instance, check out this beyond adorable patchwork clock!  Talk about a great addition to your craft room!

Before I got married, my BFF, Doni gave me a lingerie bag as a gift.  I use it all the time to separate my clean and dirty unmentionables whenever we're on trips.  This tutorial looks simple to follow and would make for a great gift!

Speaking of Donielle, this clutch looks just like something she would love!

And last but not least, I am loving this peacock about beautiful!

Now it's your turn.  Head on over to Taylor Made and see for yourself what a great blog it is!

Happy Blogging!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Praise the Lord!

Do you remember the 4th of July weekend, 2010?  If you were reading my blog back then, you might remember me asking you to pray for Stephen's 93 year old Nana (if you don't remember or weren't following at the time, you can read that post here).

Last year, on the 4th of July, Stephen and I had plans to stick around Chicago and enjoy a weekend laying low (kinda like we did this year).  Our weekend plans quickly changed as we got phone calls from Stephen's parents telling us that his Nana was not doing well and things did not seem promising.  Without hesitating or waiting a moment, we left Chicago on Friday afternoon and began our trek to Pittsburgh.  We spent the weekend with Nana, unsure of what the future may hold, but prayerfully hopeful and expectant to see the mighty hand of God at work.

A year later, I want to thank you for praying for Nana.  Not only did she recover from her most serious ailments that caused her to be hospitalized, but she was able to return to her home with the help of family.  I was reading through my blog and realized that I had asked for prayers and then casually went on with life and didn't fill you in on the blessings that God had provided.

How often do I do that in my personal life?  You know the deal, prayerfully asking God for something, receiving the blessing and then *forgetting* to have a thankful heart.  I'm definitely guilty of that.  I would love to be more reflective of God's blessings in my life, as I know they are numerous and overflowing.

So, here's a delayed, "thank you".  Thank you for praying for Nana, even though you do not know her.  Thank you for caring enough about me to care enough about Stephen, to care enough about Nana.

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below; 
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Fun Fourth of July Weekend

Stephen and I were stoked to be spending the 4th of July Chicago.  With all the back and forth traveling we've been doing to Louisville, Tennessee and Pittsburgh, we were excited to just hang low and spend time in this city that we love!

We started the weekend by sleeping in and then heading off to the Farmers Market in Lincoln Park (Green City Market).  There's Stephen showing his excitement at waking up to go to the market and to purchase some potted basil and oregano :-D. The rest of the day was spent running errands and just enjoying a lack of schedule (that never happens to us!).  On Saturday night we headed over to our good friend's apartment to enjoy a scrumptious dinner and to enjoy The Kings Speech.  Stephen rarely stays awake while watching movies, and thankfully to a bet that our friend made, Stephen was able to stay awake for the whole movie - he scored himself a big pasta dinner as a result :).

We had our usual day on Sunday: going to church, spending the afternoon getting some stuff done and then small group on Sunday night.  This past week I was in charge of making the main dish for my small group.  I decided that in honor of the 4th, I was going to make us some ribs!  Let me tell you, these were super duper easy and super duper gooooooood!  I'll share the recipe with you when I get my friend Amanda to resend it to me because I lost my card behind our cabinets...darn it!

On Monday, Stephen and I got out and enjoyed the beautiful weather!  It was an absolutely PERFECT Chicago summer day!  We started our time together by going for a walk to the lake...
 Sooo pretty!
 Trying to avoid the dreaded farmers tan...
A great map to help you get out there and explore!

Look at all those people on the beach!

After our walk, we geared up to head to a picnic with our good friends and some of their friends.  I was in charge of dessert so I made mini fruit pizzas (aka: sugar cookies with all the toppings for patriotic fruit pizza)
I love me some fruit pizza!

And then off we went to Northerly Island - a little peninsula at the southern tip of Chicago's lake front.  It's a beautiful area (close to all the museums) and so as a result, I got a million pictures...
 Downtown in Grant Park
 Looking on the city from the south
 Field Museum                                           Soldier Field
 Drew and Stephen - friends fo'life!
 Don't mess with us.
 Just kidding! (liking that Team Libby shirt, aren't you???)
 Shea and Drew make cute babies....
 Stephen and Omi: friends fo'life part dos
 All the ladies :)
 Northerly Island
So pretty and perfect!
Great friends with a great city in the background

Stephen and I decided that on our way back to our apartment, we would be touristy and walk around downtown and snap some pictures.  Unfortunately for you, you've fallen victim to those pictures right here....
 Planetarium                                 Oceanarium/Aquarium

 Did you know that the source to the Buckingham fountain was me???
 Stephen swimming in the fountain (or right outside of it) :)

We ended our wonderful day with a wonderful dinner...the only all-American dinner we could think of: burgers and fries and a brand-spankin' new coke machine that is amazing...
 Have you seen these machines before???  They're like computers and you can add different flavors to whatever choice drink you I had a Strawberry Sprite Zero...incredible!

Our last stop was to a friend's apartment to enjoy their rooftop deck in honor of what every American was doing on the same night...watching fireworks.  The cool thing about being in the city was that when we got up to the deck, everywhere we looked we could see fireworks being set off.  I think we saw maybe 20-30 different displays of fireworks.  What a site!  What about you?  What did you do to celebrate our Nation's independence?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 1 Month Birthday, Elliott!

I knew right when I found out that my sister was pregnant that I wanted to make a sign for the baby's room.  Because they waited to find out whether or not the baby was a boy or girl, they also waited to name *it (we now know it's a he).  So, I had to wait until the baby came and a name was decided upon in order to get my crazy hands working!  Using the same method that I used to make this and this, I set out to make Elliott's sign.

My supplies:
- 8x8 wooden sign from Michaels
- 1.5 inch wired turquoise ribbon from Michaels
- fabric from Elliott's baby bedding (for color direction)
- coordinating acrylic craft paint
- personalized print-outs of Elliott's initials, full name, birth date & time, weight and length
- paintbrush (not pictured)
- pencil (not pictured)
- tape (not pictured)
- clear spray paint (not pictured)
- staple gun (not pictured)

The Gist:
- Figured out what I wanted my sign to say and then picked the font & size, printed & cut it out.
- Shaded the back of the cut-outs and then arranged them where I wanted them on my board.
- Going cut-out by cut-out I taped the paper on and then, using a pencil, traced the words onto the board:
Can you see here where I started with Elliott's monogram? 

- After tracing on each individual set of wording, I painted it:

Here's what it looks like with the inspiration fabric in the background

- Once I was finished painting the front, I painted the sides brown:

- Sprayed a coat of the clear spray paint over the sign
- Cut out 2 pieces of turquoise ribbon (long)
- Measured 2 inches from either side and marked it on the back of the sign
- Using the markings as a guide, I stapled my ribbon to the back
- Tied a bow with the 2 pieces
- Hung it on the wall
- Smiled while looking at it as it reminds me of my want-to-squeeze-forever nephew:

Happy Birthday, Baby Elliott!
I love you more than you'll ever know!

I'm partying here this week :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Magnificent Mondays: Magnificent Blogs 65

Holy moly!  Have you guys checked out Homemade by Jill?  If you have never found yourself hanging out at Jill's blog, you should high-tail your little beeeeee-hind over there!
This girl has got it going on!  She has tons of ideas and tutorials on things to make for gifts, for kids, for showers, for the home...I could keep going!
Let's just cut to the chase...

Do you have a Kitchenaid stand mixer?  If so, then you'd probably be interested in Jill's tutorial on how to make a cover for the said mixer:

If you're anything like me, you're always looking for inspirations to decorate your home that is friendly to your purse strings....look no further!  Jill will show you a tissue-paper art tutorial that turned out absolutely splendid:

Not only is Jill crafty, but she's also a crafty mom ;).  I love this bird mobile she made to hang above her baby's bed:

I love hand making gifts, especially Christmas gifts.  I'm definitely going to be trying my hand at these gourmet looking hot cocoa tins as gifts for this upcoming Christmas:

And because I couldn't stop at featuring 4 great projects, I love this vinyl art that Jill created using her Silhouette:

I could keep showcasing projects, but then I would just be recreating her blog.  To save you and me time, just head on over to Homemade by Jill and check out the greatness that is her blog and then let me know what you love about it!

Happy Blogging!